______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Christianities versus Christianity September 16, 2010

by Brian McLaren

I think David Gushee gets it right:

I remember the first time it became crystal clear to me that there is no such thing as Christianity, but only competing Christianities. It was when I was working on my doctoral dissertation on Christians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. During that time I attended a most remarkable conference in New York on hidden children of the Holocaust. This gathering brought together the now-grown adults who had hidden from the Nazis to survive. Some of these children were saved by Christian families.The most memorable speaker for me was a hidden child, and now a sociologist, named Nechama Tec. A Polish Jew, she survived the war hiding with Christians. She was asked after her address whether it was Christianity that motivated her rescuers. Her unforgettable response went like this: “It wasn’t just any kind of Christianity that would motivate a rescuer. Only a certain kind of Christianity would lead someone to risk their lives for us.”

A certain kind of Christianity — the phrase stayed with me. It is enormously helpful. From hard experience, young Nechama Tec learned the difference between versions of Christianity that teach hatred of the religious/ethnic other and versions that teach sacrificial and inclusive love. Her very survival depended on being able to tell the difference between these competing Christianities and the people who embodied them.

Of course, this is what was in my mind when I wrote A New Kind of Christian and A New Kind of Christianity. It’s also at the heart of my upcoming book, the title of which will be released soon.

Gushee adds this important note, reflecting on recent tensions among Christians of competing Christianities and Islaams:

So the Christianity of “International Burn a Koran Day” exists. It is a sorry version of Christianity, but it exists. It must be defeated by better versions of Christianity. Maybe some progress has been made on that over the last week.Could it also be that there is no such thing as “Islam,” but only competing versions of Islam? Could it be that those who are casually declaring that al Qaeda’s Islam just is Islam are about as accurate as those who would say that Terry Jones’ Christianity just is Christianity? Could it be that we need a moratorium on people who know nothing about the competing Muslim traditions making blanket declarations about the eternal nature of that religion?


The Antisemitism of Martin Luther August 24, 2009

Filed under: Church,Religion,Social Issues — lifewalkblog @ 1:21 am
Tags: , , ,

Wow.  Check out this example of one of our great Church fathers:

“If I find a Jew to baptize, I shall lead him to the Elbe bridge, hang a stone around his neck, and push him into the water, baptizing him with the name of Abraham!.. I cannot convert the Jews. Our lord Christ did not succeed in doing so; but I can close their mouths so that there will be nothing for them to do but to lie upon the ground.” – Martin Luther

“What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews?
First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honour of God and of Christianity, in order that God may see that we are true Christians.
Secondly, their homes should be likewise broken down and destroyed.
Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayerbooks and talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught.
Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threats of death to teach anymore.” – Martin Luther

Jesus did not call them Abraham’s children, but a “brood of vipers” [Matt. 3:7]. Oh, that was too insulting for the noble blood and race of Israel, and they declared, “He has a demon’ [Matt 11:18]. Our Lord also calls them a “brood of vipers”; furthermore in John 8 [:39,44] he states: “If you were Abraham’s children ye would do what Abraham did…. You are of your father the devil. It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham’s but the devil’s children, nor can they bear to hear this today.——Martin Luther

They [rulers] must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did…
If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs.—-Martin Luther

Martin Luther: [ in his last sermon, four days before he died, ] called for practical measures: burn their synagogues, confiscate all books in Hebrew, prohibit Jewish prayers, force them to do manual labour, and drive them out of Germany.

“I do insist on the certainty that sooner or later – once we hold power – Christianity will be overcome and the German Church established. Yes, the German church, without a Pope, and Luther, if he could be with us, would give us his blessing.” (Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s speeches, edited by Prof. N.H. Baynes [oxford, 1942], pg. 369.)


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